Do Children Sit Too Many Standardised Tests?

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Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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Is there a better way to assess learning and pupil outcomes?

Standardised tests still dominate the world of education. Many would argue that such testing is an essential part of modern education systems and that test results provide essential data on pupil performance.

But is there a better way to assess learning and pupil outcomes? Some have increasingly have voiced concern over the number of tests we are now forcing children to take and the impact it’s having on their quality of education – and their mental health. A group of educators gathered in the Debate Chamber at the Global Education & Skills Forum to debate the role of standardised tests in our schools today and ask whether we should still be using them in the world of tomorrow.


Ms Jeanne Allen, Founder and CEO, The Center for Education Reform
Ms Susan Hopgood, President, Education International
Mr Ross McGill, Managing Director, @TeacherToolkit
Professor Jo Ritzen, Former Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Maastricht University
Dame Rachel De Souza, Chief Executive, Inspiration Trust


You can read my full transcript here and watch my pitch from 17 minutes 30 seconds. The debate was had in good spirit …


 I would like to build upon the research offered by Rose:

  1.  Offer credentials not diplomas and degrees.
  2.  Replace grades with competency.
  3.  Allow students to determine their pathway of study.
  4. If our schools are not funded sufficiently, then headteacher and teachers will never have the freedom to be this creative, and sadly we will continue way beyond 2030, perhaps for another 100 years living out this myth that we are meeting the needs of individual students, when in fact we are simply continuing to build an industrial scale approach to assessment for politicians and Governments to make performance an easier soundbyte.


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Photos courtesy of GESF 2018. To access all of the photos from the event, visit here.


5 thoughts on “Do Children Sit Too Many Standardised Tests?

  1. Just ran up to my 6 year old who is summer born but can’t get to sleep so he has now counted to 1000 and something… his twin sister came home from school after sitting a “practice SATS” paper in Maths only to tell me for the first time that school is boring. (mortified!) Our consistent testing and need to check the teacher (not really the children) is impacting on my small people (and so many others) and turning them off. They love learning but the education system they sit in is narrow and doesn’t encourage their inquisitive minds thirsty to learn about the world around them. They can proudly tell me what a fronted adverbial is and write with them.. but what for? This is all made worse by my own witnessing of children in secondary school who do well in SATS aged 10 and are then made to feel in adequate and failures because they aren’t achieving their grade 8 and 9 targets given to them in year 7. Then there are the children that don’t do well in SATS and already know they are labeled …… and target grade 4 for their entire secondary education…. irrelevant of subject…… A crime….. learning isn’t linear! I’m not clear how standardised tests (especially for 6 year olds and even 10 year olds) really helps the children! Opse… on another rant, best us the Easter hols to prepare another half termly assessment to test what they have learnt in the last 6 lessons… on no 5 we lost one for the test!

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